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MATT BROWN: Fight song? Come now, this is Brandeis!

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 23:05

There's something a little bizarre about this whole "fight song" thing. It's not that the song itself is weird-well, no more so than a typical fight song-but the overall circumstances of its development and promulgation are just a bit peculiar.I should note before continuing that I think it's great that Brandeis now has a marching band, and that they now "officially" have something to do other than stand around in snazzy uniforms holding their instruments. (Can you imagine what they would've done had the Union Senate not made the song "official?")

I'd like to think that the Senate has more important matters on its plate than debating-much less even considering debating-whether any kind of fight song should be "official." It's very respectable that our elected officials take their work so seriously; it would be pointless if they didn't. And while I'm sure there were some who asked the perennial "why does this matter?" question, clearly the majority did not, or else there would have been no debate.

Still, principle is principle, and I admire that. Especially noteworthy is Senator-at-Large Shreeya Sinha '09, who wanted to sound out her constituents before casting a vote one way or another. It's good to know that senators like her prevent our representative democracy from slipping into an oligarchy.

But Sinha had a solid point: Why should this song be made the official one, without giving other students a chance to write one? Sure, the writer, Amelia Liebhold '08, is herself a marching musician and so has first-hand knowledge of what the band is capable of, but it does seem a bit silly to force a fight song on the University from the top down.

If there's something brought before the Senate-something that's worth making "official"-it should be important enough to be brought before the entire student body. The Union has no place instituting an official fight song, soft drink, anything, without a plebiscite or referendum.

But with all that said, examining the theory of a fight song could do some good. This is Brandeis, after all, not exactly the most martial of places; the competition at this university that most people care about takes place inside the classroom. Not that I'm condoning the sorry state of school spirit, but did anyone else notice that for a few games during the past couple months, Athletics gave out free food? Sure, it could be a completely innocent gesture, but it could also be a bribe. But I digress.

I apologize for making the easy joke, but wouldn't a "Peace and Coexistence Song" be more appropriate for this university? "Hey everyone let's get along / try not to hurt others while we sing this song / Brandeis will win if that's O.K. with you / violence is not the answer. go white and blue!" Then, whenever the other team scores, the band could chant: "We respect and appreciate our differences / such as the unmatched strength of your offenses."

Liebhold did tell me that she wrote the lyrics to be "encouraging to athletics without being disparaging to other teams or people." An attitude like that won't produce a fight so much as a parry.

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